THE Legion of Mary Queensland celebrated its 80th anniversary and its role in “strengthening belief and reconfirming the faith” with a Mass at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane.
“Today we salute your members past and present for your commitment to the faith and its lived expression in the service you have offered the Church over these years,” Brisbane auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell said during his homily on July 28.
“From the days of the first legion at Kedron under the guidance of Franciscan Fr Fidelis Griffin, throughout these 80 years, where various praesidia have been established in every diocese of Queensland, your mission still continues, in different forms and with similar enthusiasm to your original foundation.”
A history of commitment
According to Concilium records, Fr Griffin set up the first praesidium in Queensland on August 29, 1939.
Fr Griffin was the parish priest of the Church of the Little Flower, also known as St Therese and St Anthony Parish, Kedron.
He named the first praesidium Mary Immaculate.
Praesidia spread quickly to be established in parishes across Brisbane.
A story in the Advocate newspaper on July 6, 1939, mentioned the Legion of Mary in Australia and a story about the raising of Brisbane Curia to Comitium.
At that stage, there were 16 senior metropolitan praesidia and six in the countryside.
The Legion of Mary was in Herston, Nundah, Fortitude Valley, South Brisbane, Gympie, North Ipswich, St Stephen’s Cathedral, City, Kangaroo Point, West End and Indooroopilly.
A heart of prayer
Bishop Romuald Hayes of Rockhampton and Bishop Joseph Roper of Toowoomba visited the Curia before they started the Legion in their dioceses.
“At present, you have a particular care for the elderly and infirm, assisting them in the practise of their faith,” Bishop Howell said.
“Your guidance of the young through school catechetics and preparation for the sacraments, reflects that your mission extends across all ages.
“Your special support of the Missionaries of Charity – Mother Teresa’s sisters – is also deeply appreciated.
“At the heart of your life has always been prayer, especially your Marian devotions and promotion of the Rosary.”
Members participate in parish life through visitation of families, the sick, both in their homes and in hospitals, and through collaboration in every apostolic and missionary undertaking by the parish.
The Brisbane Comitium has one Curia – Korean Curia at Sacred Heart, Jubilee/Paddington parish, with six praesidia attached and 40 members.
There are 13 established praesidia in Acacia Ridge; Annerley/Ekibin; Carina; St Stephen’s Cathedral – City, Fortitude Valley; Geebung; four praesidia in the Inala – St Mark’s Parish; Regents Park; Sandgate Brighton; and Sunnybank.
A new praesidium was recently formed in the parish of St James, Coorparoo.
In regional Queensland, there are five praesidia – Ayr, Earlville, Gordonvale, Hervey Bay (in Brisbane archdiocese) and Emerald.
Brisbane Comitium is committed in continuing on their recruitment of new members, and striving to establish new praesidia to keep the Legion of Mary going in Queensland.